DITA promotes a dynamic interplay between Christian theology and the arts within the Divinity School and beyond by exploring the contours of creative theological expression, and enriching theological education within the church, academy, and society. Through events, teaching, and research, DITA is dedicated to showing how the arts can be enriched by theology, and theology in turn renewed through the arts.
The Art of New Creation
How might the relationship between creation and new creation be informed by and reflected in the arts? This volume, based on the DITA10 conference at Duke Divinity School, brings together reflections from theologians, biblical scholars, and artists to offer insights on God’s first work, God’s future work, and the future of the field of theology and the arts. Click here to read more.
Artists may be expected to speak of the new to attempt to create something new into the world. But what is truly new and necessary is for theology to dare to open the mystery of the New. In this collection of essays and conversations, we see a glimpse into a church in which such a possibility of the New is fully manifest. … I am grateful for this diverse estuary of thoughts, which leads to Making.”
Makoto Fujimura, artist and author of Art and Faith: A Theology of Making
Rooted in this moment when we have lost our sense of being and are traversing what appears as the brooding threat of nonbeing, this book unleashes creativity as the embodiment of new being. Joined in rumination and celebration, we are guided by a diversely gifted company of friends to journey forth in hope. The pages nourish and sustain us through the extraordinary more of art as it leads us into depth to meet our abundant God in the midst of a suffering world.”
Cecilia González-Andrieu, professor of theology and theological aesthetics at Loyola Marymount University, author of Bridge to Wonder: Art as a Gospel of Beauty
We are to take the materials of this world, like stone or pigment or wood, and enable them to praise God.”
Jeremy Begbie, the Habit Podcast, hosted by Jonathan Rogers
God has made a cosmos. It’s very artfully made. God himself in Jesus Christ is an art maker.”
W. David O. Taylor, God’s Story Podcast, hosted by Brent Siddall
The Art of New Creation is a book for our season. Although it is definitively hopeful in God, it does not give the definitive word. Furthermore, although responses to COVID and systemic injustices may be found in its essays (or made from them), it doesn’t attempt to answer the question of evil, sin, and death. Instead, it underscores the question while offering reflections and glimpses into God’s re-creative mission.”
—Melody Bellefeuille-Frost, The Christian Century, “Creation and new creation: a review of The Art of New Creation“
From “The White Savior as Diseased Creation”
Our social imagination is riddled with disease. Social imagination here means “worldview” but with a deliberate consideration of practices and social arrangements. This imagination is social in two senses: it is shared within a broad community, and it articulates how we fit together. We collectively imagine how we all fit together and thereby make it so. It overlaps with culture and society but reduces it to neither. As with worldview and culture, we can be more and less aware of its components and operations—when something is embedded in our social imagination, it is in the air we breathe.
Our social imagination is infected with the disease of whiteness—a specific perversion of Christian thought and practice that exalts a false ideal of humanity, idolatrously placing the White Man ideal in the place that Christians otherwise reserve for Jesus Christ.
Movies—including their posters and narratives—are a part of how we form, transmit, and modify our social identity by way of our shared social space. In them, we see the ordered landscape of whiteness—the dominance of centered, white male protagonists around and beneath whom lesser characters take their respective places, showing how, as film scholars Hernan Vera and Andrew Gordon put it, “the world revolves around the white messiah.”
About the Author
Jacki Price-Linnartz is a writer, academic, and graphic artist and currently serves as the research editor to Dr. Edgardo Colón-Emeric, Dean of Duke Divinity School. She received her Th.D. from Duke Divinity School in 2016.
Awet I. Andemicael, Musician
One of the things I enjoy most about being a musician is the interplay with fellow performers and audience members in the common space that we create together. I marvel at how we, as diverse individuals, can be drawn into this vivid communal reality that comes into being among us, enriched and enlivened by it without being subsumed in it. Of course, it is more challenging to achieve this in the virtual spaces that performers have had to navigate during the pandemic. But I am amazed by, and grateful for, the extent to which we are still able to experience some measure of community around music and other arts, and in prayer and worship, even when we are physically distanced.
Another related aspect of being a musician that I find especially fulfilling is the priestly dimension of concert performance—being involved in God’s work of rendering Godself present in the assembly, especially in unexpected places like concert halls. When I stand on a (literal or metaphorical) stage to sing, I often have the sense of a cosmic reality linked to our mundane musicking. It is the presence of the living God among us, and the revelation of our role as translucent mediators of that presence to the audience and fellow performers. In and with and through my singing body, and the listening and singing and playing bodies around me, God’s presence dwells, God’s spirit unites, God’s glory radiates.
About the Author
Awet Andemicael is an operatic soprano and theologian. She currently serves as Associate Dean for Marquand Chapel and Lecturer in Theology at Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music.
Despite the academic level, the further one reads into the book, the more one discovers that there is something here for everyone.”
—Justin Ariel Bailey, “The Now and Not Yet: A Review of The Art of New Creation”
About the Editors
W. David O. Taylor is Associate Professor of Theology and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary and an ordained priest in the Anglican Communion in North America. His most recent books are A Body of Praise (Baker Academic, 2023) and Open and Unafraid: The Psalms as a Guide to Life (Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins, 2020). He received his Th.D. from Duke Divinity School in 2014.
Daniel Train directs the Certificate in Theology and the Arts program at Duke Divinity School and is the Associate Director of Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts. He co-edited The Saint John’s Bible and its Tradition: Illuminating Beauty in the Twenty-First Century and has published several shorter essays and articles. He received his Ph.D. in English from Baylor University with a concentration in Religion and Literature.
Jeremy Begbie is the McDonald Agape Director of Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts and the inaugural Thomas A. Langford Distinguished Research Professor of Theology at Duke Divinity School. Dr. Begbie is also a senior member at Wolfson College, Cambridge, and an affiliated lecturer in the faculty of music at the University of Cambridge. He has published widely in the field of theology and the arts.